FBI questioning two men in Miami after four missing at sea

MIAMI (AFP) — FBI agents on Tuesday questioned a fugitive and another man found on a life raft about the fate of the four crew members of a boat they chartered and that was found drifting at sea, unmanned.The two men were taken into custody as the US Coast Guard ship that rescued them docked in Miami.

Authorities also seized the ghost ship, which was towed to shore.

“It’s a potential crime on the high seas,” FBI spokeswoman Judy Orihuela told AFP.

FBI agents started questioning the two men before the Coast Guard cutter arrived in Miami, after finding out one of them was wanted for allegedly robbing a store where he used to work.

As crews continued searching by air and sea for the four missing crew members, Jeff Branam, whose family operates the Joe Cool from a Miami Beach marina, expressed fear the charter boat may have been pirated.

“Those two jerks probably didn’t know how to run the boat so they had to get off it,” he told the Miami Herald.

A Coast Guard helicopter crew spotted Guillermo Zarabozo and Kirby Archer on Monday, near the spot where the abandoned fishing charter was found, 256 kilometers (160 miles) south of Bimini.

The location of the boat raised alarm bells as it was well off the course it would have followed if it had drifted after a breakdown on the way to Bimini. The two customers had said they wanted to go to the Bahamian island when they chartered the vessel on Saturday.

The on-board Global Positioning System showed the 47-foot sport fisher made several erratic movements and began heading south about halfway into the voyage, the Coast Guard said.

Arkansas authorities had been seeking for Archer, 35, since January. A manager at a Wal-Mart store in Batesville, Arkansas, Archer had stuffed 92,260 dollars he took from cash registers into a microwave oven, paid for the item and left the store with the appliance and the cash.


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